All lectures will be pre-recorded: you can watch them before the summer school commences.

All Ages, Young Adult, Crossover? On describing an international phenomenon (Lena Hoffmann)

Lena Hoffmann

Since Joanne Rowling's "Harry Potter"-series the phenomenon of literary texts that are read by both adults and adolescents has been widely acknowledged and discussed. Within the research community however a variety of terms has been used to describe this phenomenon. The lecture will try to argue for the term "crossover literature" as the appropriate term to describe literary texts that cross the boundaries between the literary markets for literature "for adults" and literature "for adolescents". The lecture will also introduce parameters to analyse this phenomenon: Crossover literature occurs, so the idea, within interconnections of market strategies, medial discourse and textual characteristics.

The Artist Is Present: The Significance of Literature Festivals (Ada Bieber)

Ada Bieber

Over the last decade or so, various digital formats have been introduced allowing young people to participate interactively in cultural matters. Many of these new digital pathways have revolutionized how we participate. However, one may argue that the value of personal cultural events remain crucial for children and young people to be sustainably engaged in literature and culture. A personal experience of interacting with cultural professionals goes beyond digital experiences that one often engages in alone and in silence. With festival experiences that may not even be recorded or broadcast, the significance of the author (and illustrator) as well as the actual moment of presentation and paratextual events take on a new meaning.

Using the international literature festival of Berlin as an example, this lecture examines the meaning of literature festivals for the visibility and impact of international children’s literature. It discusses the impact festival events have e.g. on the visibility of marginalised literature(s) and authors in a world that is still dominated by Western culture, on translation and the cultural transition of texts and illustrations, as well as on publishing and the book market. Ultimately, it will discuss in what ways festivals initiate intercultural participation in a globalised world.

Bad Books in the Stacks: Confronting Offensive Material in Children's Literature Collections (Kenneth Kidd)

Kenneth Kidd

Museums and archives now struggle with how to handle “bad objects” in their collections, especially racist materials. Some institutions have owned up to their complicity with the circulation and maintenance of problematic holdings, finding ways to make reparation and challenging norms of preservation, memory, and cultural value. Some institutions even deliberately collect racist materials as part of an educational program.

This talk considers how archives, libraries, and other repositories of children’s literature in particular are already handling and might yet handle materials with shifting ideological value. The question of what to do with bad books is practical, theoretical, and ethical, extending to all aspects of collection maintenance and development and operating in the context of broader concerns about public access and accountability. The talk will frame these efforts within broader calls for the reform of children's literature production and children's literature studies both.

The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination in Youth Literature, Media, and Culture (Ebony Elizabeth Thomas)

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Humans read and listen to stories not only to be informed but also as a way to enter worlds that are not like our own. Stories provide mirrors, windows, and doors into other existences, both real and imagined. A sense of the infinite possibilities inherent in fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, comics, and graphic novels draws children, teens, and adults from all backgrounds to speculative fiction–also known as the fantastic. However, when people of color seek passageways into the fantastic, we often discover that the doors are barred. Even the very act of dreaming of worlds-that-never-were can be challenging when the known world does not provide many liberatory spaces. The dark fantastic cycle posits that the presence of Black characters in mainstream speculative fiction creates a dilemma. The way that this dilemma is most often resolved is by enacting violence against the character, who then haunts the narrative. This is what readers of the fantastic expect, for it mirrors the spectacle of symbolic violence against the Dark Other in our own world. Moving through spectacle, hesitation, violence, and haunting, the dark fantastic cycle is only interrupted through emancipation–transforming objectified Dark Others into agentive Dark Ones. Yet the success of new narratives from Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic universe, the recent Hugo Awards won by NK Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor, and the blossoming of Afrofuturistic and Black fantastic tales prove that all people need new mythologies–new “stories about stories.” In addition to amplifying diverse fantasy, liberating the rest of the fantastic from its fear and loathing of darkness and Dark Others is essential.

This highly engaging, interactive presentation will move from ideological concepts to concrete action by showcasing the ways that youth and young adults respond to textual erasure and misrepresentation by using social media to create new worlds—a process that I call restorying --and how creatives are in turn starting to think about the implications of race and difference in participatory culture.

D is for Drunkard: The Drinking Curriculum in Children's Literature and Culture (Elizabeth Marshall)

Elizabeth Marshall

From the red currant wine that Anne mistakenly serves Diana in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables to Moominpappa’s penchant for whisky in Tove Jansson’s comics, alcohol is an open secret in children’s literature and culture. This lecture examines the legacy of a pervasive and sometimes confounding drinking curriculum about the pleasures and pitfalls of alcohol consumption. Placing alcohol, drinking, and drunkenness at the heart of children’s literature, this lecture charts a unique back story for the texts we thought we knew. 

The Ever-Expanding World of Early Readers (Jennifer M. Miskec)

Jennifer M. Miskec

In this plenary session, I will discuss the ever-expanding world of children's Early Readers, books like the Ivy and Bean, Anna Hibiscus, Captain Underpants, and A to Z Mysteries series. I will begin by offering a brief history of Early Readers and then enter into a discussion of the conventions of the category. Finally, I will show the ways the category is evolving and expanding, including diversifying its racial, cultural, and religious representation.   

Exploring the Colonial Archive: Missionary Writing (Elisabeth Wesseling)

Elisabeth Wesseling

Gloria Wekker  argues in White Innocence:  Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race (Duke UP, 2016) that critical scrutiny of the colonial archive is a crucial precondition for coming to terms with the lingering legacy of the colonial past in the post-colonial present. Children’s (non-)fiction provides a central point of entry into the colonial archive, especially where the last period of colonial expansion (1890-1940) is concerned. According to Ann Stoler, ‘in colony and metropole, parenting practices and education were key political issues on the reformist agenda’, placing children ‘at the center of social policy as they had never been before’ (Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule, 2002, p. 117, 120). Missionaries were central to preparing the newer generations for empire in both colony and metropole as teachers and authors of educative materials for the young (textbooks, stories, poems and songs about the overseas dominions). They were key players in distancing indigenous and mixed children from their birth families and cultures, so as to make them susceptible to Western

ways. They also performed a crucial role in recruiting the next generation of colonial officials by persuading metropolitan children of the necessity of reforming indigenous nations in the colonies.

This lecture will discuss theoretical and methodological perspectives on the significance of missionary writing, such as:

  • The international, ‘webbed’ nature of empire in general and missionary writing in particular
  • The complex agency of the intended audiences of missionary writing
  • Modes of access to missionary archives
  • The close affinities between textbooks and children’s novels in missionary writing
  • The importance of both intensive and extensive reading methods to a proper understanding of missionary writing

The House that 'Diverse" Youth Literature Built (B.J. McDaniel)

B. J. McDaniel

In 1996 in her forward for Storytelling: Art and Technique, Augusta Braxton Baker wrote, “At a time when our nation is experiencing another great wave of immigrants and there is racial and ethnic tension throughout the world, folktales- the stuff of storytelling- remind people of the oneness of humanity. Children need to hear stories that give them a sense of their own culture as well as stories that introduce them to other ways of thinking and doing, and that inherently teach respect for other cultures.” Now as we enter into a new decade where nations around the globe are mired in political and social unrest these words continue to ring true and this quotation is a reminder of the ongoing movement to champion justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in children’s literature.

This lecture traces the roots of the contemporary movement for more diverse books and authors in the US and other countries, outlining the contributions of key figures on burgeoning sites of inquiry like Twitter and elsewhere. It will pinpoint the intersections of activism from artists, reviewers, educators and academics to develop blueprints for the house built overlapping spaces in each of these roles.

Inclusive children's books inspiring our future (Fatinha Ramos)

Fatinha Ramos

Lecture by the illustrator: more information will be added soon.

Take Flight: A love letter to colonialism’s hidden children (Temi Odumosu)

Temi Odumosu

The value and purpose of sensitive memorialization practices is a critical discussion taking place in the cultural field; particularly during this global moment when public space and public rooms are so fraught with tension. This talk is a counter-response to the current intensities - an attempt to find/utter words that honour the children and childhoods profoundly transformed by colonial ways of knowing and doing. Listening to the stories that emerge from different kinds of archival documents (including children’s books), the aim is to critically pause for attention, before the future urges us into even more knowledge and artistic production. This return to archive must therefore be considered as an ethical act of threshing – that is the careful treading over old ground with purpose (Tuck et al. 2014) - in order to understand and embody what is at stake moving forward. Using the epistolary format in order to write with, to, and alongside (rather than over), we explore questions such as: How did this child arrive in this place? Why and how were they typed and stereotyped? What do we know of their emotional and psychological experiences? How were their childhood’s disrupted and changed by different forms of colonial contact? What do their stories/spirits need now?

Tuck, Eve, Mistinguette Smith, Allison M. Guess, Tavia Benjamin, and Brian K. Jones. "Geotheorizing Black/Land Contestations and Contingent Collaborations". Departures in Critical Qualitative Research. 3.1 (2014): 52-74.